Government begins purge of JP political appointees

President Abdulla Yameen’s administration has begun “a purge” of political appointees belonging to former coalition partner Jumhooree Party (JP).

Speaking to Minivan News today, JP Secretary General Ahmed Sameer said nine political appointees, including one minister, three state ministers and five deputy ministers, have been dismissed following the JP’s expulsion from the ruling coalition with Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM).

“An individual’s political affiliation must not affect their employment. This country is no longer free. I call on President Yameen to stop this discrimination,” Sameer said.

According to the JP, Yameen dismissed Minister of Transport and Communication Ameen Ibrahim on Thursday. Since then, State Minister of Transport Ahmed Zubair, State Minister of Defense Mohamed Muizz Adnan, and State Minister of Environment Hassan Shah have also been dismissed, Sameer said.

Deputy Minister of Health Adam Zalif, Deputy Minister of Environment Athhar Haleem, Deputy Minister of Transport Ikram Hassan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Hameed and Deputy Minister for Finance Hussain Zamir have also been dismissed.

Sameer dismissed rumors that existing JP ministers – Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed, Minister of Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim and Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer – had joined the PPM.

He also condemned alleged attempts by PPM to recruit JP members to the ruling party.

President Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali was not responding to calls at the time of press.

PPM decided to unilaterally expel JP from the ruling coalition over JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim’s decision to stand for Speaker of the newly elected People’s Majlis. In Wednesday’s vote, Gasim narrowly lost the secret vote to PPM’s candidate Abdulla Maseeh.

PPM claimed Gasim’s decision breached the coalition agreement made between the two parties during November’s presidential election.

Gasim’s support was crucial in in Yameen’s win against the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The tourism tycoon backed Yameen at the eleventh hour in exchange for a 35 percent stake in political appointees and a promise to contest parliamentary and local government polls jointly. The JP was allocated 33 percent of seats for the two subsequent polls.

The JP has previously complained about the PPM’s failure to appoint JP nominees to political positions, saying the party only received 29 of the 300 positions. The party alleges PPM breached the coalition agreement first.

With JP’s expulsion, only two smaller parties remain with PPM in the ruling coalition. They are Maldives Development Alliance and the religious Adhaalath Party.


President Yameen appoints five ministers to cabinet

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has reappointed four incumbent ministers to his cabinet and his niece Dunya Maumoon as Minister of Foreign Affairs, at a ceremony held at the President’s Office at 8:30pm last night.

Retired Colonel Mohamed Nazim was reappointed to the post of Minister of Defense and National Security, Abdulla Jihad as Minister of Finance and Treasury, Ahmed Adheeb as Minister of Tourism and Ameen Ibrahim as Minister of Transport and Communication.

Nazim was a key figure in the ousting of former President Mohamed Nasheed. In the last months of Dr Waheed’s presidency, Nazim dealt with dissent within the military ranks, suspending several officers for petitions expressing concern over presidential poll delays. Nazim also amended the Military Act adding a clause punishing incitement of chaos and upheaval in the military.

Dunya Maumoon is the daughter of former president of 30 years Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and niece to President Yameen. She served as the State Minister for Foreign Affairs under former President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

Dunya was a key figure in defending the legitimacy of Dr Waheed’s cabinet in the international community following Nasheed’s allegations of coup d’état. She had previously served as the Assistant Representative of the Maldives Office of the UNFPA and held the post of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007-2008 during her father’s tenure.

Abdulla Jihad also served in President Gayoom’s cabinet in 2008 and went on to become a Civil Service Commission (CSC) member in 2010. When Dr Waheed assumed the presidency, Jihad was sworn in as Minister of Finance in March 2012.

Before Adheeb was appointed as Tourism Minister in Dr Waheed’s cabinet, he held the post of the President of the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) and was a well known critic of Nasheed’s economic policies. Under his leadership, the MNCCI made a failed attempt in court to halt the enactment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act, citing worse economic ramifications and violations of law.

During his tenure in Dr Waheed’s cabinet, Adheeb was embroiled in a controversy involving the infamous pair of Armenian brothers linked with drug trafficking, money laundering, raids on media outlets and other serious crimes in Kenya.

Transport Minister Ameen has also served in key political positions in Gayoom’s presidency including Deputy Minister of Gender and Family and went on to become the Chief Executive Office of Villa TV. He is a member of presidential candidate Qasim Ibrahim’s Jumhooree Party (JP).

After Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz administered the oath of office, Yameen asked his ministers to serve the state with sincerity and hard work to the best of their ability

Following the oath ceremony, Yameen met with the senior officers of the Maldives National Defense Forces (MNDF) and pledged to strengthen the military. The MNDF greeted the commander in chief with a guard of honour and the national anthem at Bandaara Koshi.

Yameen also met with senior Maldives Police Services (MPS) officers including Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz and Deputy Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed at the Iskandhar Building.

According to the police, Yameen noted that the MPS is a noble service, but police officers faced public resentment and anger as they worked in the frontline of law enforcement. However, Yameen said he believed the public took pride in the MPS.

The President requested individual police officers to work within the law and uphold good behavior and assured the MPS he would develop the police service during his tenure. He also asked the police to expedite investigations and the process of issuing criminal record reports for youth when they apply for jobs.